A huge factor in becoming a good musician is muscle tension. This is something that rarely gets taught or explained.
What do we mean when we talk about muscle tension?
In order to play guitar, we need some muscle tension. Playing a guitar involves moving our fingers, so we have to tense specific muscle groups to cause movement. At the beginner stages of learning to play guitar, we are focussed on basic co-ordination – this finger goes here, that finger goes there. When we get little more advanced, we start thinking about how those fingers are moving. At a more advanced level we want to think about:
- The amount of muscle tension being used to move our fingers. Are we using too much, too little, the right amount?
- Is that muscle tension being appropriately relaxed after completing the movement?
- Are we subconsciously tensing other muscles groups unnecessarily?
When we can’t control muscle tension properly, it usually manifests in one of the following ways:
- Pain when playing
- Hitting barriers with technique
- Not having the endurance to play for a whole song… or an hour of songs
- That feeling of fighting against yourself in order to be able to play an exercise / piece you are working on
Quite often classical musicians train a new piece of music in the following ways:
- Memorisation – working on remembering where their fingers go to play the right notes at the right time in the right order.
- Phrasing – working on how we play those notes.
- Muscle tension – making sure we are physically relaxed as possible while playing those notes.
Guitar lessons usually involve only looking at step 1 of that process. Until now.
We help you memorise music you want to play effectively.
We train you to use the appropriate phrasing to make the music sound good (did you know there is more than one way to play a single note? This is one of the things that makes the guitar exceptional).
We train you to appropriately control your muscle tension, so that you can play the way that you want to play, without getting in your own way.
We train you on each step of the process – giving you the ability to effortlessly play the music that you want to play.